NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 1 – Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta has dared Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo to file a Motion of no-confidence in Parliament to strip him of the post.
Responding to Kilonzo’s insistence that he should step down from the position, Kenyatta maintained that he would only do so if Parliament voted him out.
“There is no need for the Justice Minister to sound like a stuck record,” the DPM countered through a close aide.
The Constitutional Affairs Minister who is among those who piled pressure on Kenyatta to quit as Finance Minister alongside Francis Muthaura as Civil Service chief, has maintained that he would not be cowed into embracing principles that went against the spirit of the new Constitution.
He went ahead to declare that he was not worried about being kicked out of the Wiper Democratic Movement headed by Vice president Kalonzo Musyoka saying that he had already been enticed by 21 political parties for his bold stand.
Section 4(4) of the National Accord and Reconciliation Act states the office of the DPM shall become vacant if the holder dies, resigns or, or ceases to be a member of the National Assembly before the dissolution of Parliament.
The post can also cease to exist if the Grand Coalition Government is dissolved.
The National Accord says the DPM is a member of the Cabinet and may perform any of the co-ordination responsibilities assigned to him by the PM as well as to deputise for him.
It is not odd for a member of the Cabinet to use a backbencher to file such a Motion in the House. For instance in 2009, some political commentators and supporters of then Agriculture Minister William Ruto claimed that a fellow minister was behind a censure Motion against Ruto following the maize scandal.
Ikolomani MP Boni Khalwale argued that middlemen were allowed to make a killing by selling maize at Sh2,500 for a 90kg bag while farmers were earning Sh1,750, with the extra cost being borne by the consumer. He also raised the question of 6,500 tonnes of maize held at the port and the alleged allocation of maize to favoured millers creating a conflict of interest.
The MP had wanted Ruto to step aside to allow for investigations by an audit team set up by the Prime Minister.
The Cabinet was split with then Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Martha Karua challenging Ruto to take political responsibility for the questions raised by MPs and the House in relation to the maize controversy.